the story of Talos

the Story of Talos of Crete

Talos was one of the gifts given in love to Europa by Zeus. He was a giant, bronze automaton or living statue that was forged by the divine smith, Hephaistus and his role was to act as her personal protector.
His work involved patrolling the island, circling it three times each day, and to protect it from invasion by pirates by hurling rocks at enemy ships off the coast. If any fugitives managed to evade this onslaught he leapt into fire and, when red-hot, crushed them in a fiery death embrace. He, like Achilles, had one physical weakness.

In the back of his leg was a small vein which he plugged with a metal nail. His end came through trickery by Jason and the Argonauts. When returning from their travels to Colchis, the Argonauts tried to stop for drinking water in Crete but were prevented initially from doing so by Talos.

However, with the assistance of the sorceress, Medea, he was tricked and eventually slain. There are several versions of how he met his demise. One is that Medea deliberately distracted Talos, causing him to stumble on the rocks which led to the nail closing his vein falling out and his powers, in the form of a divine fluid, drained out of him.

Another version is that Medea cast a spell on him, paralyzing him and then pulling out the nail herself. A third story relates that he died by the arrow of one of the Argonauts, Poias, when he tried to prevent them from landing on the island.

From the genealogy of the epic poet Cinaethon, Talos was depicted as a Cretan sun-god, a son of Kres (Crete) and the father of the fire-god, Hephaistos. Possibly, he was also the father of the Cretan moon-goddess, Pasiphae who was also the wife of King Minos. Others saw him as a bronze bull or the last of the bronze race of men. In the Cretan language, talos means the sun and in Greek, cut down or hewn.